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If one uses collective nouns as suggested in the subject of

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If one uses collective nouns as suggested in the subject of [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2011, 09:43
If one uses collective nouns as suggested in the subject of this post, should they be followed up with 'are' or is?

For instance,

Should I say "The staff is demanding a hike in pay" or should I say "The staff ARE demanding..."?

Similarly, should we say the flock is headed north or should we say "The flock are header north"?

I am slightly confused. Can somebody point me to the correct grammatical reasoning for making the right choice from the above please?

N.B: I searched thru the archive for Collective nouns and one of the posts seems to say that we must be using 'is', treating the group as a single entity. I want a confirmation of this and any related information the forum members can share.

The source is a small book on Sentence correction by an Indian author.

Regards
Rahul
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Re: Collective nouns: staff, herd, flock et al.. [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2011, 23:02
Collective Noun is indeed singular.The usage of 'is' in one of your examples is correct.
Moreover, you should use the GMAT grammar book by the GMAT Club or MGMAT SC book for a complete understanding of the concepts.
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Re: Collective nouns: staff, herd, flock et al.. [#permalink] New post 02 May 2011, 14:07
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The confusion may be due to the fact that in certain places in the world collective nouns are considered plural. In British English it might be perfectly acceptable to say "the staff are demanding..."--so it makes sense that if your source was from an Indian grammar book that the author would state the rule that way. However, the grammar used on the the GMAT is a very buttoned-up version of American English, so make sure that whatever materials you study from are based on a detailed study of the usage considered correct on the GMAT. Collective nouns are indeed considered singular on the GMAT.

Think of the test as a computer game--one that you want to win! That means playing by their rules for that day (and therefore learning their rules), regardless of what rules you may play by in your outside life. Hope this helps.
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Re: Collective nouns: staff, herd, flock et al.. [#permalink] New post 03 May 2011, 21:33
Phew! I thought GMAT had easy English. It is not easy to be born and brought up in the Indian schools reading Sherlock Holmes and to get thru the GMAT.

Thank you very much for highlighting the subtleties.

Regards
Rahul
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Rahul

Re: Collective nouns: staff, herd, flock et al..   [#permalink] 03 May 2011, 21:33
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